Painting a Figure In Watercolor

I am not a figure painter. Very rarely do I add a figure to my painting and it’s because I don’t know how to draw people. If you see a figure in my painting you can be sure it’s the smallest shape I can make which will represent a person. But I took a photo several years ago that I always wanted to paint. What intrigues me about the picture is the light figure of a woman against a dark background. The shapes are great and I decided to give it a try.


After drawing the figure I made a rich puddle of  Quinacridone Burnt Orange & Turquoise (not mixed together) and wet the entire area behind the figure. I added each color on to the damp paper allowing the  colors to mix on the paper. This created a dark background filled with varies shades of orange, greens & blues.


I liked what was happening in the background so I decided to continue the painting of her body using the same idea of adding 2 colors & mixing them on the wet paper. I choose Pyrrole Rubin & Aureolin Yellow for the upper body, and  Quinacrindone Magenta & Ultramarine Blue for the lower body.


I wanted her to be in the garden so I wet the bottom of the paper and dropped, splattered & dripped all the colors I previous used plus a few addition greens. This gave the illusion of her being surrounded by flowers.


My next challenge was to paint her arm & hat. For the arm I used Jaune Brillant #1 & #2, Raw Sienna & a mix of colors to make a dark violet. For the hat I decided to use a blend of purples & turquoise to make a pale gray mix.



I have a few little areas I want to address but overall I’m excited to have  constructed this painting. I feel It’s filled with delightful colors that are vibrant & alive. I was frightened to attempt this painting but by doing it I took the fear out of painting a figure. I might even try another one because this was so much fun to do.

I used Holbein Watercolor Paints for this painting.


Paint with Me




~ by Lorraine Rimmelin on October 2, 2012.

5 Responses to “Painting a Figure In Watercolor”


  2. Beautiful Painting.
    May I have permission, to copy this technique? I would like to try it.
    Also, thanks for all the Lessons,,,

  3. I enjoy sharing the painting process and learn more by having to relate my work sessions with others. Please try this technique & let me know how you make out, I’d love to post your finished artwork.

  4. Lorraine,
    This painting is stunning and giving me so much inspiration! Thanks so much for your wonderful blog! Watercolor can be challenging but you explain it so well…continue on and be happy painting!

  5. Thanks Deb, glad you enjoyed.

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